Video Game Featuring Jesus and Mohammed Fighting Is Reworked After Muslim Complaint

By Patrick Goodenough | April 29, 2009 | 5:46 AM EDT

( – Following complaints from a Muslim group, an online game company removed a video game in which “Jesus,” “Mohammed,” “Buddha” and other religious figures engage in combat. But on Wednesday -- one day after yanking the game – the makers uploaded a new, tongue-in-cheek version.
This time, rather than have the religious figures fight each other, gamers are invited to “give love and respect” to them.
This is achieved by mouse-clicking on the figures in a bid to prevent them from disappearing. They vanish anyway, and the screen then displays a message, over the backdrop of a burning village, saying, “You didn’t respect a religion and now the world is a total mess.”
The new version evidently is an attempt by Molleindustria, the Italian company behind the original Faith Fighter game, to mock both those who complained about it and the media for what it called a “manufactured controversy.”
“We want to offer you a positive, nonviolent educational game that teaches the universal values of tolerance and respect,” the company says about the revised version. “This is a very simple game that can be played by children of all ages, religious leaders and even journalists!”
On Tuesday, Molleindustria pulled Faith Fighter from its Web site, after the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) released a statement saying that it was “incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians.”
As described by Molleindustria, “Faith Fighter is the ultimate fighting game for these dark times. Choose your belief and kick the **** out of your enemies. Give vent to your intolerance! Religious hate has never been so much fun,” the online blurb said.
Charging that the original game would “incite intolerance,” an official at the OIC’s Islamophobia Observatory in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, urged hosting Web sites to remove it immediately.
The game, which the makers called a “response to the one-way Islamophobic satire of the Danish Mohammed cartoons,” had already been available for more than a year. The OIC statement came in response to a report on Faith Fighter in a British mass-circulation tabloid newspaper.
Molleindustria said that before the OIC reaction, it had received only two earlier complaints, from Catholics.
Alert to Muslim sensitivities, Molleindustria had also offered a “censored” version of the game, in which the turbaned Mohammed character’s face was blacked out.
Soon after it pulled the game from its site, the company issued a brief statement denying that it had bowed to fundamentalists, but adding that Muslims “are victim of widespread racism in the western world. This islamofobia [sic] is functional to the imperial interests in Middle East and all over the world.”
Molleindustria describes itself as “an Italian team of artists, designers and programmers that aims at starting a serious discussion about social and political implications of videogames.”
Other games it has designed include one satirizing the Catholic Church, with a clerical sexual abuse theme.
Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow